First person of color tapped to lead IU’s McKinney law school

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Karen Bravo

A woman who’s a longtime professor at Indiana University’s downtown Indianapolis law school is expected to become the first person of color to lead the school.

Karen E. Bravo has been named dean of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, pending formal approval by the IU Board of Trustees at its April meeting.

If her appointment is approved, Bravo will start her new job July 1 at the school at IUPUI. Bravo, who is black and from Jamaica, will become the second woman to lead the school, and its 13th dean since the school’s affiliation with IU began in 1944.

She joined the faculty of the McKinney School in 2004 as an assistant professor of law. Since then, Bravo has served as associate dean for international affairs, associate dean for graduate studies and international affairs, and most recently as vice dean for the school.

“Karen Bravo has distinguished herself for well over a decade on the McKinney faculty as both a leader and a scholar,” IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Paydar said in a statement.

Bravo’s campus activities over the years have included helping found and lead a leadership program for women and underrepresented faculty and staff at IUPUI.

She’s also the founder and leader of the Slavery Past, Present and Future Project, which organizes an annual conference for a multidisciplinary exploration of human trafficking and slavery.

Bravo is set to replace outgoing dean Andrew Klein, who announced last year that he would step down at the end of this school year but remain on the McKinney faculty.

Other finalists who came to the school for official visits and interviews were Ngai Pindell, International Gaming Institute professor of law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Boyd School of Law; Milena Sterio, an associate dean at Cleveland State University Marshall College of Law; and David Thorson, an expert in international human rights law and director of the Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children at Michigan State University College of Law.

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